I was making some cookies at Halloween and wanted to make the frosting orange. I have several types of food coloring in the cupboard, but I found an old combination box of food coloring that I thought must be pretty old. I forgot about it and finished my cookies. Just about a week ago, I was at the store and saw the combination box of food coloring on sale and decided that I should get a new box. When I got home and put away my groceries, I decided that I needed to get rid of that old box...and I was curious as to how old that box really was. I looked all around for a date and found a date of 1975. The more I thought about it...the more I started to remember what we used that food coloring for.
When I was a little girl, my Mom taught music lessons for piano and voice from about one o'clock in the afternoon to as late as seven o'clock in the evening. Most of the time, she would have a casserole ready or something in the crock pot so we had dinner ready, when she came upstairs. Mom did that so we would be able to be in swim team, boy scouts, girl scouts, camp fire girls or anything else we were involved in. Mom also did that, so she could spoil us at Christmas.
Mom made Christmas special at our house. I can still remember the tree dripping with tinsel that we had gone out in the woods to get. It was never perfectly shaped and it seems that Dad was called on to drill holes in to insert branches. Nothing was perfect...because she let us help with the decorating. Mom also did a lot of different candy and cookies. I still do that, but I have never been able to make divinity successfully. One of the things that I can remember is making popcorn balls at Christmas.
This was a relatively cheap gift but it was a lot of fun to make. Mom would do the popcorn and the candy to make the popcorn stick. She would use that food coloring to make any color combination that you could think of with those four basic colors of red, green, blue, and yellow. I can remember having a popcorn ball Christmas tree that we decorated. I can also remember popcorn balls wrapped up in plastic wrap that we could give to our friends as gifts. The process was kind of fun. We would rub butter all over our hands, then take the hot gooey popcorn and form balls. We would finish one batch and color, and start the process all over again.
I have so many memories of Christmas that are wonderful and I feel incredibly lucky to have had the wonderful childhood that my parents gave us. I hadn't thought about those popcorn balls for years...I would have a hard time eating them these days. I can't have all the sweets and popcorn isn't very nice to my teeth. I almost wonder if I should keep that old box of food coloring for posterity. It is a nice reminder of Christmas popcorn balls and the fun we had making them!